Irish Whiskey Styles

By Craig Ellis
Author Bio: Craig's love for all things whiskey began when he visited his first distillery, Talisker in 2006. During his free time, he likes to visit distilleries around the globe, planning his travel around these locations. Craig created The Pot Still in 2016 when he first started to collect rare and unusual whiskeys. His whiskey collection has grown and grown since. Craig writes and reviews independently and is not commissioned by any brand or distillery. Craig's views and opinions are his own.
Irish Whiskey Styles
There are a number of Irish whiskey styles, but firstly, for a whiskey to earn the title of 'Irish Whiskey' there are a few technical yet simple rules: 
  • The spirit must be produced on the island of Ireland (similar to Scotch in Scotland, Bourbon in America, etc,.)
  • Must be distilled from Grain
  • Must be matured for no less than 3 years in Oak Casks
  • Must not be sold at anything less than 40% abv (alcohol by volume)

Irish Whiskey Styles

Pot Still Irish Whiskey

This is a style unique to Ireland. At one stage, this style was the largest share of whiskey sold worldwide, but during tough times (British rule and taxation, along with Prohibition in the US), this style was nearly eradicated to save money. The essential ingredient to this pot still style is unmalted barley, which gives it a distinctive spiciness, more of a weighty, grainy texture and funky cereal flavour.

Pot Still Irish Whiskey

The whiskey consists of a mashbill containing a minimum of 30% malted barley, a minimum of 30% unmalted barley, with up to 5% of other cereals, such as oats and rye. It can only be produced on the island of Ireland, and has to be batch-distilled in a pot still.

Malt Irish Whiskey

As the name suggests, this whiskey style is purely made from malted barley. This is not unique to the likes of Scotland, however the Scots would like everyone to believe that it is unique to them. Malt Irish whiskey has a lighter, sweeter flavour in its' profile compared to pot still whiskey. Malt Irish whiskey can be unpeated or peated (the recent release of Teeling Blackpitts), double or triple distilled, but it has to be batch distilled in a pot still.

Malt irish whiskey style

Grain Irish Whiskey

Grain whiskey consists of a mix of roughly 94% corn/maize and 6% malted barley, and is made in a continuous or column still. Its' flavour is lighter than malt whiskey or pot still whiskey. Maize produces less flavour and impact than barley, but mostly due to the action of the column still, which produces lighter but more alcoholic spirit.

Grain whiskey column still continuous

Blended Irish Whiskey

Blended Irish whiskey is a blended mixture of two or more of these whiskey styles combined.

Blended Irish Whiskey


Tags: Irish Whiskey

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